- Written by Ivan Dulgerov
CPSBB is a partner in European project aiming at the development of innovative and sustainable strategies for the creation of climate-resilient and drought-tolerant cereals
CPSBB is pleased to announce the European project “BOOSTER” funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Horizon Europe programme.
BOOSTER will improve drought tolerance in both maize and teff, while simultaneously exploring the potential for transferring species-specific drought responsive features. By exploiting natural genetic variation to achieve drought tolerant genotypes and by developing biostimulants derived from living organisms, BOOSTER will take advantage of the already available natural resources to steer our agriculture towards novel drought tolerant varieties.
Two synergistic strategies will be implemented to achieve this goal. Firstly, a new approach will identify genomic variants in regulatory regions functionally associated with drought tolerance. Novel regulatory elements underlying resilience will inform efficient breeding efforts to create new drought tolerant cereal varieties. Secondly, novel seaweed extracts and microbial biostimulants will be developed as an eco-friendly approach for improving drought resilience. The two strategies will be tested in two cereals with different responsiveness to drought: European maize and Ethiopian teff, a cereal with high genetic similarity to the desiccation tolerant Eragrostis nindensis.
The BOOSTER consortium is made up of a highly qualified team represented by European and international (USA, South Africa, Ethiopia) academia and industry that will ensure that the expected impacts are achieved in the near future.
The project started on the 1st of May, 2023 and has a duration of 48 months. The expected funding will be €4.9 million from the European Commission’s Horizon Europe framework programme.